There is nothing more thrilling in theatre than the act of transformation: from actor to character, from stage to scene, from idea to experience. With Cybec Electric, Melbourne Theatre Company invites you to experience plays at that crucial, transformative moment between first draft and mainstage performance.
Cybec Electric is named after The Cybec Foundation, the philanthropic organisation established by Roger Riordan AM and his late wife Patricia in 2002. The Foundation first supported the development of new work at MTC in 2003, with the commission of Joanna Murray-Smith’s acclaimed play Ninety. Since then, The Cybec Foundation has supported the development of numerous emerging playwrights and new plays, such as Poor Boy, Realism, and The Joy of Text, through a series of workshops and studio play readings.
Roger’s passion lies in helping young people transition from educational settings to professional experience. MTC wanted to honour that passion, and so Cybec Electric was born. More than simply a series of play readings, Cybec Electric is an active part of the conversation around programming at MTC, playing a key role in connecting young writers and directors to the mainstage. Each play selected for the series receives three days of intensive workshop time, including two public readings and unfettered access to MTC creative staff. In addition, an internship program has been developed alongside the workshops specifically for theatre studies students at VCA and NIDA. Through this, MTC provides a platform from which these students can build professional networks, and assists in their transition from the academy to professional theatre.
The most mutually beneficial element of this program is the pathway it creates for new artists to enter into the MTC. This pathway is perhaps best exemplified by 2014 Cybec feature The Waiting Room by Kylie Trounson. An ambitious play by a young creative team; on paper, the play’s epic scope seems risky and difficult. But, like a prepatory sketch precedes a great painting, a reading gives the play what it most needs in order to properly realise its potential: an audience. The tears, laughter and intimate understanding that bloomed between the audience and the actors at Cybec Electric in 2014 secured The Waiting Room ’s place in MTC’s 2015 Season.
This February, MTC presents four fantastic new plays by experienced and emerging playwrights, covering alcoholism in Northern Australia, the lives and loves of Asian-Australians, the lure and controversy of videogames, and a decades-old murder mystery. Six readings were completely sold out in 2014, with nearly 1500 people attending, and the season running at 85% capacity – an unprecedented turnout. 2015 promises to be even bigger.
Cybec Electric is proudly supported by The Cybec Foundation. You can see the full list of plays and purchase tickets to this exciting event on our website.